CLARK FREEPORT -- The North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) and the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) are now fully integrated.
The Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC) yesterday announced that the P650 million NLEx-SCTEx Integration Project is now fully operational and has been completed ahead of the expected 10 percent to 15 percent increase in traffic volume on Holy Week.
“Seamless and faster travel can now be experienced at NLEx and SCTEx as toll collection stops are lessened and additional payment options are introduced at the SCTEx,” said MNTC president Rodrigo E. Franco.
The project, which involves the conversion of NLEx and SCTEx toll collection systems into a single system, reduces toll collection stops to two instead of five from Balintawak to Subic and back, instead of four from Balintawak to Tarlac and back.
“The integration speeds up the queues on toll plazas. Motorists who will drive from Manila to Subic will just have to stop for toll payments at Balintawak and Subic or Tarlac. This will save them up to 40 minutes of travel time,” Franco said.
Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, who pushed the integration of the two toll systems, said that the move “will surely create a faster and more efficient traveling experience in the NLEx and SCTEx especially this coming Holy Week.”
“This integration of our tollways will be of huge help to our countrymen as more efficient movement of people means less time on the road and more time for them to spend with their loved ones,” Drilon said.
“The integration will also mean faster and more efficient delivery of goods and services through the seamless flow of traffic in these northern highways,” he added.
For his part, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president and Chief Executive Officer Arnel Paciano D. Casanova said that the integration is a game-changer that will greatly benefit the motorist in terms of faster travel time and convenience.
“It’s the first integration among expressways in the country and we are happy to be part of it and set the bar for others to replicate for the benefit of the public,” Casanova said.
To unify the system of NLEx and SCTEx, MNTC constructed seven new toll plazas in Tarlac, Subic-Tipo, Sta. Ines, and the northbound and southbound sides of Dau and Mabiga.
Motorists will no longer need to stop at the existing NLEx Dau and SCTEx Mabalacat barriers as these are converted into pass-through lanes.
By April, the said barriers will be removed to provide motorists with a more comfortable travel. The Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEx) Toll Plaza will also be dismantled to better facilitate the integration of the two expressways.
The integrated toll collection has a common transit ticket system for both the NLEx’s closed system and that of the SCTEx’s. A single official receipt will be issued to motorists, showing a breakdown of the NLEX and SCTEX portion of their trips.
With the integration of the NLEx and the SCTEx, Franco said motorists will now have other payment options when traveling at the SCTEx since, like the NLEx, it now features electronic toll collection through Easytrip.
On top of the NLEx-SCTEx integration, MNTC will also implement “Safe Trip Mo Sagot Ko” (SMSK) along NLEx, SCTEx and CAVITEx which will enhance the traffic management and toll collection services during the Holy Week.
From March 18 to 28, additional patrol vehicles and enforcers will be fielded to immediately respond to distressed motorists.
Ambulant toll tellers equipped with portable toll collection gadgets will be deployed and additional traffic informatory signs will be installed in strategic areas. Road works will also be suspended to ensure smooth traffic flow.
On March 23 to 27, MNTC and its partners will continue to provide free services such as free calls and Wi-Fi, free basic mechanic services and first aid treatments in designated locations along NLEx, SCTEx and CAVITEX.
Free towing services to the nearest exit will be offered to Class 1 vehicles from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. Free drinking water and sunblock will also be available at SMSK Motorist Camps in NLEx Dau rest bay northbound, SCTEx Concepcion northbound, Pitabunan southbound and Floridablanca rest bay, and CAVITEx Parañaque and Kawit toll plazas.
With these two programs in place, there will be time and fuel savings for the 200,000 vehicles that use the NLEx and the over 30,000 vehicles that ply the SCTEx daily.
“Beyond the Lenten season, we are hoping we can do our part to help lessen the travel time of the motorists who ply our expressways daily,” Franco stated. “Less time on the road means more time for productive work, or more quality time for the family,” he added.
SMSK is co-presented by Caltex and Ford Philippines.